An Honest Review About SB19 and Ben&Ben's Band Version of Mapa

An Honest Review About SB19 and Ben&Ben’s Band Version of Mapa

It's the P-pop group's first-ever collaboration with another Filipino artist.

On Sunday, 27 June 2021, P-pop group SB19 released their first collaboration song with Ben&Ben, the most popular folk and pop rock band in the Philippines today. When both bands announced they were releasing a record together, the two fanbases, A’tin and Liwanag, went into a frenzy. The collaboration trended on Twitter, and the boys started posting promo photos to hype up the release of their first record.  

Also read: 7 Things to Know About SB19: The Most Popular Filipino Pop Group!

Soon, they also announced that their collaboration would be a cover of SB19’s Mapa (map), only this time, a band version. If you didn’t know, Mapa is SB19’s most emotional song yet. It’s a song dedicated to their moms and dads — or mama and papa — hence, MaPa. As of writing, SB19’s original version of Mapa, which was only released in May 2021, has four million views on YouTube and three million streams on Spotify. 

In Philippine culture, most parents want to support and guide their children even until adulthood for as long as they’re able to. After all, life is tough and Filipinos highly value the concept of family. So Mapa’s message is all about telling our parents that they’ve done more than enough and finally taking the burden off their shoulders. 

Many listeners have shed tears to Mapa, myself included. And it was the first SB19 song I’d ever listened to. (Yeah, I’m only two months into the A’tin fanbase. Don’t kill me, please.) When I heard that the boys would be releasing a band version with Ben&Ben, my expectations were quite high. 

An honest review of the band version of Mapa

Before we begin, I’d just like to say that I’m not a musician. I don’t play any instrument nor am I knowledgeable about the technical side of making music. I’m just your average listener who appreciates good lyrics and catchy melodies. So I’ll only react to how SB19 and Ben&Ben’s version of Mapa made me feel, as well as what I liked or disliked about it. Let’s start. 

In my opinion, the first verse of the original Mapa is the most important one as it immediately sets the mood of the whole song. Justin was excellent at singing this part in the original version; his singing solemn and his voice with a subtle shakiness. “Lagi na lang kami ang nauuna. ‘Di ba pwedeng ikaw muna? Akin ang pangamba.” [It’s us who you always put first. Can’t you go first this time? I’ll bear the worries now.]

I didn’t know what to expect from the band version. But I was still surprised when they split the vocals of the first verse between Josh and Justin, with Josh opening the song using his smooth and cool voice. I could immediately tell that they were approaching the band version with more suave. At this point, I wasn’t sure if I liked that or not. 

Enter Paolo from Ben&Ben with his beautiful and laid-back vocals as he sang the pre-chorus so effortlessly. Just like that, my initial apprehensions seemed to disappear. Paolo and Miguel’s vocals have a tendency to do that — calm you even when you’re anxious or emotional. 

When Pablo and Stell sang the chorus, it was cheery instead of weepy. They sang beautifully; and to be honest, you’d expect no less from the group’s leader and best singer. I was still getting used to the more jovial route the band version was taking. For a song whose original version made so many listeners cry — and I’m sure the boys know this — it was a brave and daring move to shift the melody to a happy one. 

Justin from SB19

When Toni from Ben&Ben started singing what was originally Josh’s verse dedicated to dads, everything made more sense. For those who didn’t know, Josh never met his father. So allowing somebody else to sing his part while he shared the first verse with Justin was apt and kind of bittersweet. 

Ken’s thick and youthful voice always gets me when he sings his part: “Dahil ikaw ang aking paa sa tuwing ako’y gagapang.” [Because you are my feet when I’m about to crawl.] That hits home every time, and the band version didn’t change that.

My favourite part of the SB19 and Ben&Ben Mapa rendition was the mellowed down violin solo by Keifer before they amped up the energy. Once they went full blast, Mapa was completely converted to a joyful and celebratory song. 

In summary…

Overall, this was a very hip and sweeter interpretation of Mapa. It’s something that I would probably play in the car during a road trip, and I definitely see people in karaoke bars blasting this song for its relatable and straight to the point lyrics. The melody of both the original and band version would no doubt leave anyone with the last song syndrome. 

I’ve put SB19 and Ben&Ben’s Mapa on repeat since Sunday to completely appreciate it for what it is. To be honest though, I still prefer the original version. Everything boils down to one’s musical preference. It just so happens that I prefer Mapa to sound more heartfelt than celebratory as it is a song inspired by the sacrifices of our parents. 

However, many would also want a song like that to sound happier as proven by the one million views of SB19 and Ben&Ben’s Mapa official video on YouTube. And to think it’s only been three days since its release as of writing. Kudos to SB19 and Ben&Ben for this long-anticipated collaboration. It was truly worth the wait!

All images credited to SB19 Official Twitter Account.

About Author

Therese Sta. Maria
Therese Sta. Maria

Therese's close friends know that if they haven’t seen her around recently, then she’s probably having an adventure with her luggage and camera in hand. Though she loves staying at home and spending lazy afternoons with friends, there are times when she has to be "away from home to feel at home," — that’s when she’s bitten by the travel bug. See her travels on Instagram @reesstamaria.


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